Soccer Teams Built from Scratch

After a year off, Anoka-Ramsey soccer teams create winning rosters with new players and new head coaches.


Anoka-Ramsey Athletic Department

The men’s team competed in the Midwest District finals in Chicago.

Sara Ruiz Gonzalez, Social Media Manager

The Anoka Ramsey Community College soccer teams had seasons unlike any other. The teams did not play last year due to COVID-19 restrictions. This year, both teams have new coaches and new players. 

The women’s team made it to the NJCAA Region XIII finals. The men’s team became NJCAA Region XIII champions and went to the NJCAA Midwest District Tournament in Chicago.  

Tim Notz, the new women’s soccer head coach, has been coaching soccer since 2007. Notz joined Anoka Ramsey in the Spring of 2021 after coaching at Parkland Junior college in Ilinois.  

Notz had to adjust to a new area and community. His goal was to “get the team back up and running” after COVID-19. His current purpose is to connect with the players and teach them the importance of constant improvement to be successful and enjoy playing the sport. 

women's team competing at NJCAA Regiional XIII Finals
The women’s team competed in the NJCAA Regional XIII finals against Rochester Community and Technical College. (Anoka-Ramsey Athletic Department)

The head coach explained that the soccer recruitment is a long, complex process, in which try-outs are not the main part, as many think.  

“Recruiting happens 24 [hours], seven days a week, 12 months a year, you know. It is non-stop,” Notz said.  

The recruitment process starts as early as one year before the semester starts. Usually, coaches go to games, tournaments and showcases to evaluate players. This year, recruitment was done online because of COVID-19. 

According to Notz, online recruiting made it easier to contact players, but it also made it more challenging to get to know the players and to evaluate their performances. Through online recruitment, coaches often only see highlight videos instead of a full game.  

The women's soccer team playing with just 11 players due to injury.
The women’s soccer team played with just 11 players due to an injury. (Anoka-Ramsey Athletic Department)

“You don’t get as good of a picture if you are watching like a two-minute video versus if you are at a game,” said Notz.  

During recruitment, a group of players is selected to try out for the team. The coach then selects the best players for the team.  

One of the long-term goals of Notz is to incorporate international students into the team, as he used to do so in Ilinois. Notz expressed how being close to the twin cities allows diversity in the team. 

“That’s one nice thing about Anoka-Ramsey. We have more diversity and players from other areas” Notz said.  

Even though getting used to a new coach and learning to work as a team can be challenging, the women’s team made substantial progress throughout the season, taking Anoka-Ramsey all the way to the NJCAA Region XIII Championship.  

“Our possession and ability to control the ball has improved drastically since the beginning of the year,” said Notz. “We are moving in the right direction.”   

Competing at nationals is what the team’s goal will be next year. 

The women’s soccer team started with only 11 players. Due to injuries, the team played a game with only nine players, but they still won with a score of 4-0.  

Comparatively, the men’s soccer team has 23 players on its roster. 

Qassim Ilmi, the new men’s soccer team head coach, brought on two players that were part of the team before the pandemic started, and 21 new players. This was a challenge for the team and the coach as they had to start from the very bottom and build a whole new team.  

The men's team played the NJCAA Region XIII championships final.
The men’s team won the NJCAA Region XIII championships final. (Anoka-Ramsey Athletic Department) 

Our attempts to reach Ilmi went unanswered.

One of the new players is Eloy Demarquez who was recruited from Ecuador. Demarquez was born and raised in Ecuador. After he graduated from high school in Ecuador, he reached out to different colleges in the United States looking for the opportunity to play soccer, finding Anoka-Ramsey.  

His recruitment process was done online with the help of his Anoka-Ramsey academic advisor and coach.  

Demarquez was not able to start attending school in August 2020 as initially planned because of the pandemic. He started taking online classes at Anoka-Ramsey last spring while still in Ecuador. Demarquez moved to Minnesota and officially joined the soccer team in August 2021. 

While at Anoka-Ramsey, Demarquez has overcome communication challenges because his first language is Spanish.  

“When I came here, I was shy, and I wouldn’t talk much,” said Demarquez. “I didn’t feel strong or confident,” Demarquez said he became more comfortable as the season went on and the players became friends.  


Brandon Huie, another soccer player and international student, was one of the two players who were not new this season. 

Huie said one of the things he learned this season was to “never underestimate your new players.” At the beginning of the season, Huie was not feeling confident about how the season was going to go with 20 new players and a new coach. But Huie explained that adjusting to the coach and learning to work as a team with the player was “very easy and accommodating.” 


On Oct. 24, the team became NJCAA Region XIII champions and went to Chicago to play the NJCAA Midwest District Tournament in Chicago. Their season ended after they lost the NJCAA Midwest District finals against Richland College on Oct. 31.  

“It was a great feeling,” said Huie about becoming NJCAA Region XIII champions and playing in Chicago. 

An overview of the teams’ seasons is available online at